Found January 15, 2012 on With Malice:
PLAYERS: Phil Jackson

As is often said, life gets in the way.  It's true of blogging too, and I won't get into stories: but I've been busy.
Anyway - back into it.  A few things I want to discuss...

- Firstly on the Lakers: they're both better and worse than I expected/hoped they'd be.  Or if not worse, where they were last season.  Lemme 'splain... I think they've made the transition (or rather, are in the process of making the transition) from Phil Jackson to Mike Brown rather smoothly.  Or... it's going rather smoothly thus far. 

- 9-5 isn't what I'd normally call a brilliant start, but given the parameters of operation this season, it's pretty nice.  Compare it to other teams, and it's not too bad.  Look at it through the lens of new coach, no Bynum for games 1-4, and playing a back-to-back-to-back to open the season. 
Actually, so far this season, the Lakers have had only 3 of those 14 games not be part of a back-to-back, or back-to-back-to-back.  That's NYK (win), Houston (win) and Memphis (win).

- Kobe Bryant's been playing some AMAZING basketball lately.  Will the 40-point-barrage continue?  Hell no.  But I do expect him to be slightly improved over what he was last season.  The lengthened layoff during the lockout clearly helped Kobe, as did the platelet-rich plasma therapy.  It appears to be so successful that I expect a far greater number of athletes making pilgrimages to get the "German procedure" in the coming years... interestingly, I've seen the anti-Kobe faction deride his FG% (incorrectly), assists (mistakenly) and then minutes per game (not really a worry... is it?).

- Hawaii's an awesome place.

- Even in the light of Kobe's pace of game at the moment, I'd love to see Gasol/Bynum have a greater impact on the game.  That's more on coaching than Kobe tho'.  Most of the time, they present an advantage that is unmatchable by opponents.  Most of the time...

- Gotta say, LeBron is playing some amazing ball at the moment.  Same with Rondo, Durant & (up until his injury) Melo.

- Mentioning former CotY Mike Brown, I'm actually far more impressed with him than I thought I'd be.  Kudos to you, Coach Brown.

- The presence of Mike Yam and Henry Abbott on the NBA Today podcast make me appreciate Ryen Russillo all that more.  Tim Legler - you're actually pretty damn good. 
Ok, I'm not being fair.  Initially, I thought Mike Yam was pretty bad, but in light of what Abbott presents, well... Mike, you're ok.  As far as radio presenting goes, Abbott is a talented writer (except when it comes to Kobe Bryant - more on that in a later piece).

- The Clipper loss: I don't think you can put that one on Kobe, not at all.  Sure, he didn't shoot quite at the 50% clip that he had been, but pretty much everyone on the team was worse (if less prolific).  Gasol: 7-17.  Bynum: 6-13.  These are two guys who should be hitting at a much higher percentage, especially in light of the big-man defense that the Clippers present. Barnes: 1-6. Derek Fisher: 2-5.

- Speaking of Fisher, can we see more of Darius Morris please?  Thus far, I like what I see.

- The next 5 games are huge.  Hosting Dallas, traveling to Miami and Orlando in a Florida back-to-back, then hosting Indiana before seeing the Clippers again in a Lakers homegame.  Huge stuff there.

- Lastly: if Dwight Howard is to be traded before the trade deadline, surely it'd be to the Lakers.  Brook Lopez being injured will impact the way Orlando view him (that along with... well... "sucking"), and the New Jersey ineptitude will affect the way Dwight views the Nets.  Bynum is not Howard, but there's no other singular piece that the Magic can attain that's better.  Did I mention Hawaii's nice?

With Lamar Odom struggling, Phil Jackson reaches out to his former Sixth Man

It's easy to not feel sorry for Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom. The veteran has spent his entire career in Los Angeles, Miami, and back in Los Angeles again until last month. He's been a part of two championship teams, he willingly signed off on not only entering a celebrity marriage, of sorts, and a part in two different "reality" TV shows (I'm cool because...

Phil Jackson reached out to Lamar Odom to help

Things are not going well for Lamar Odom, on or off the court. Things were bad enough off the court he considered taking a year off — and that was before the Lakers tried to trade him. It was his wife Khloe Kardashian that encouraged him to get back out there. Off the court issues…
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